Ranking the top 3 SF Giants starting pitching targets
3. Taijuan Walker - 2.94 SO/W ratio, 46.2% GB rate, and a 0.86 HR/9 rate
Taijuan Walker is a free agent yet again and it feels like he is a Giants fit yet again. I suppose the most pressing question is what number he will wear next season for the Giants if Aaron Judge is already wearing No. 99?
Maybe I am getting ahead of myself. Walker has put together a solid career as a mid-rotation arm and looks to score one more payday. The right-handed hurler just finished a two-year, $17 million pact with the New York Mets where he posted a 3.98 ERA in 59 starts. His deal includedd a $6 million player options but he decided not to exercise it.
The 2022 season was a solid one for Walker as he registerd a 3.49 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 7.6 K/9, 2.94 SO/W ratio, and a 0.86 HR/9 rate in 29 starts for the Mets.
MLB Trade Rumors is predicting that Walker will receive a four-year, $52 million pact in free agency. It is hard to believe that 2023 will only be his age-30 season as it feels like he has been in baseball for over a decade.
The length may be what scares the Giants away. The righty could certainly demand four years given his age, but we have not seen San Francisco's front office go to that length since Farhan Zaidi was hired as team president of baseball operations in November of 2018.
He fits the Giants archetype for a pitcher but may find a better deal elsewhere. I mentioned that there were four free-agent starters who had an above-average SO/W ratio, ground ball rate, and a HR/9 rate in 2022. The fourth was José Quintana, who had a very nice season in 2022. I think teams will be weary of the fact that this was his best season in years.
On a different note, Jameson Taillon seems like a fit as well. I think in the case of some of these options, it is a hard sell because the drop off in production from Carlos Rodón is steep, whereas it might be more tolerable with a Chris Bassitt or a Ross Stripling.